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Unspeakable Subjects

Feminist Essays in Legal and Social Theory

By: Nicola Lacey
Media of Unspeakable Subjects
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Published: 01-03-1998
Format: PDF eBook (?)
Edition: 1st
Extent: 320
ISBN: 9781847311474
Imprint: Hart Publishing
RRP: £38.69
Online price : £30.95
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About Unspeakable Subjects

Nicola Lacey's book presents a feminist critique of law based on an analysis of the ways in which the very structure or method of modern law is gendered. All of the essays in the book therefore engage at some level with the question of whether there are things of a general nature to be said about what might be called the sex or gender of law. Ranging across fields including criminal law,public law and anti-discrimination law, the essays examine the conceptual framework of modern legal practices: the legal conception of the subject as an individual; the concepts of equality, freedom, justice and rights; and the legal construction of public and private realms and of the relations between individual, state and community. They also reflect upon the deployment of law as a means of furthering feminist ethical and political values. At a more general level, the essays contemplate the relationship between feminist and other critical approaches to legal theory; the relationship between the ideas underlying feminist legal theory and those informing contemporary developments in social and political theory; and the nature of the relationship between feminist legal theories and feminist legal politics.

The essays in this book tell the story of an intellectual journey which has led the author to question some of the central assumptions of traditional legal education and scholarship. They also set out a distinctive vision of jurisprudence as a form of critical social theory.

Table Of Contents

Introduction to the Essays


1. From Individual to Group? A Feminist Analysis of the Limits of Anti-Discrimination Legislation

2. Theories of Justice and the Welfare State: A Feminist Critique

3. Theory into Practice? Pornography and the Public/Private Dichotomy

4. Unspeakable Subjects, Impossible Rights: Sexuality, Integrity and Criminal Law

5. Community in Legal Theory: Idea, Ideal or Ideology?


6. Closure and Critique in Feminist Jurisprudence: Transcending the Dichotomy or a Foot in Both Camps?

7. Feminist Legal Theory Beyond Neutrality

8. Normative Reconstruction in Socio-Legal Theory


“This collection of essays brings together work of a leading figure within feminist legal thought and provides an excellent example of the particular contribution of feminism to analysis of the legal system. The essays engage with, respond to and develop a variety of feminist perspectives upon law and demonstrate the enormous, challenging and exciting task ahead for feminist legal theorists.” –  Jo Bridgeman, Modern Law Review

“Lacey exemplifies the best characteristics of British academic writing, namely, a sincere attempt to convey complex positions and arguments as clearly as possible and an uncompromising honesty about her own work which means that her critical gaze is as much directed at her own views as at others.” –  David Dyzenhaus, Philosophical Books

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